Seager continues to torment Texas with winning hit
Third baseman delivers RBI double in ninth; Ramirez outduels Darvish
ARLINGTON -- A day after seeing his team give up 15 runs to the Rangers, young Mariners right-hander Erasmo Ramirez outdueled Yu Darvish for seven innings on Sunday, and Kyle Seager delivered the go-ahead hit with an RBI double in the ninth as Seattle topped Texas, 4-3.
Seager continued terrorizing the Rangers with his game-winning hit off closer Joe Nathan, fouling off a pair of two-strike pitches before driving a shot to right field to score Endy Chavez.
Seager had the go-ahead hits in both of Seattle's wins in the series and is hitting .409 (27-for-66) with four home runs and 13 RBIs in 17 games against Texas this season, the most homers and RBIs of any Rangers' opponent.
"You know what?" said Mariners acting manager Robby Thompson. "This isn't a knock on anybody else, but when the game is on the line like that, it's Kyle Seager. I don't care whether he's coming out of a slump or not. He is a battler up there. He went down and got that ball. He's a gritty grinder, a battler up there. He knows how to battle with two strikes."
Nathan, who has 36 saves and a 1.63 ERA, just shook his head at Seager's ability to hit his best pitch.
"I went back and looked at it and it was about ankle high when he hit it, which lets me know it's probably going to be in the dirt when it gets back to [the catcher]," Nathan said. "It was right where I was attempting to throw it. Obviously he was sitting on the pitch.
"I think everyone in the park knew he was looking for a slider, but usually when you put it in a decent location, it doesn't matter. Hat's off to him, he's a very good ballplayer. He always plays us really tough, and he's probably that guy we don't want to have beat us."
Seager came into the series in an 0-for-21 slump, but went 4-for-9 with two homers, two doubles and four RBIs in three games, finishing up with his winning at-bat against Nathan.
"You get down 0-2 against a guy like him, you really just have to calm down," Seager said. "He has good stuff and everything, but you can't get overexcited. That's what he kind of feeds on. So you just have to stay calm, stay with your approach and look for a pitch you can hit. It was down a little bit, a similar pitch that I'd swung through earlier in the at-bat. Fortunately, I was able to get it."
Ramirez held the Rangers to four hits and two runs (one earned) in seven innings, but took a no-decision after Texas tied the game at 3 with a run off Yoervis Medina in the eighth.
But Seager extended a 14-game hitting streak at Rangers Ballpark with his double, making a winner of Medina before new closer Danny Farquhar finished off Texas in the ninth for his seventh save.
The Mariners are 57-66 overall and 3-3 on a tough road trip that concludes in Oakland. The Rangers suffered just their fourth loss in 19 games in falling to 71-53, a half-game ahead of the second-place A's in the American League West.
Ramirez remains 4-0 while lowering his ERA to 5.94 after throwing by far his best outing in six starts after missing the first three months of the season with a sore elbow.
"I'm super happy," said the 23-year-old from Nicaragua. "I feel great. During the game, I just focused on getting strikes and not thinking too much about pitching against Texas, one of the best teams right now. I was just thinking about me, going out and doing my work. I just tried to make it hard for them."
Ramirez impressed the Rangers in his first start against the AL West leaders.
"I know his numbers didn't show, but he's throwing good as a starter," said Texas catcher A.J. Pierzynski. "And their lineup always wants to give you a battle, especially Seager, [Kendrys] Morales, [Raul] Ibanez and those guys in the middle. They always seem to have a good approach. I don't think it's as easy as people think it is against those guys. They played well, and they're going to be tough down the stretch."
Michael Saunders snapped an 0-for-13 slump as he went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI for the Mariners and Dustin Ackley drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth with an RBI single off reliever Robbie Ross before Texas tied it on Elvis Andrus' RBI double off Medina.
"After we lost by 12 runs or whatever, it's great to come back in here and get right back at it," said Ackley, who went 2-for-4 and ripped a hard line drive on one of his outs. "If we'd lost this one, we might be questioning ourselves. But to get back out there and win this one was pretty big."
Darvish, who gave up just one hit in eight innings in his last start against Houston, went 7 1/3 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits with four walks and seven strikeouts. The Rangers ace remains 12-5 with a 2.68 ERA and is 3-3 with a 4.78 ERA in seven career starts against Seattle.
"This was a nice job up and down the lineup against one of the best pitchers in the game of baseball right now," said Thompson. "Each time we've faced him, we seem to battle him pretty well. Each time we put a point on the board, they answered until that final one. Our guys, especially bouncing back from last night, they played a really good ballgame today."
The Mariners are 11-14 with Thompson as acting manager, with Eric Wedge expected to rejoin the team Friday when it returns to Seattle after being out since July 22 following a minor stroke.